In the middle of last year, Google made an announcement that it will be introducing an ad blocker to Chrome sometime in February 2018. This has understandably shaken content publishers all over the world. For one, almost all publishers rely on ad revenue to fund their activities. Secondly, roughly 90% of Google parent company Alphabet Inc.'s revenue last year came from advertising. So, the question on everyone’s mind is: Why is Google shooting its own foot like this?
The answer is that Google is not trying to make the internet an ad-free space. Instead, it is trying to make it a less annoying place. Google’s plan is to block the ads on only those web pages that feature either a highly annoying number of ads or intrusive ones. My company, ReviveAds, an ad-block circumvention company, surveyed about 185,000 users who had an ad blocker installed. Once on a website, they were given the choice to manually choose whether to view or block an ad. If they chose to block the ad, a paywall would be presented. We found that, of this set, only 61 — less than 1% of users — actually chose to block ads when given the choice. So, why such a large investment of time and money from Google? Who decides which ads are acceptable? And how can publishers know whether their ads pass the criteria?
There is a group called the Coalition for Better Ads, with members including Google, News Corp, Facebook and others. This coalition will determine which ads are acceptable or not. Publishers will receive an "Ad Experience Report" from Google before the change takes place, which will notify them of which ads on their sites are offensive and how they can improve them.
Need Of The Hour
It was high time that the internet giant came up with a solution against the bad advertisers and publishers who litter their web pages with a multitude of annoying ads. A large number of ads — or even a small number of annoying and intrusive ads — can make using the internet a bad experience for users. Many ads slow down internet speeds, make it difficult to use the internet and, in general, make the internet frustrating to use.
It is because of these intrusive ads that annoyed internet users install ad-blocker plugins — like AdBlock, Brave Browser, NoScript and more — on their browsers. Now, these ad-blockers block all kinds of ads on the internet without differentiating between those that are useful and relevant and those that are irrelevant and annoying. This hurts everybody: publishers, advertisers and the entire ecosystem.
Google’s solution will be less of an ad-blocker and more of an ad-filter. It removes only ads that are determined to be annoying and that worsen the experience for users. All of those irritating popup ads and videos that autoplay with sound and the like will disappear. This will benefit the users as well as content publishers and make the internet a more pleasant experience for all parties.